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« Required Medical Disclosures For Physicians | Main | Change Creates Opportunity. Here's Where To Look. »
Tuesday
Dec142010

Are Medical Societies Irrelevant For Today's Physicians?

Ask yourself this question: "Why am I in my medical society?"

A few years ago I took the plunge and stopped hoping to become an entrepreneur and actually stepped out and gave it a whirl.  It was a crazy time. 

I learned very quickly that starting a business always takes a lot more time and money than you originally envision, and in short order I was scrounging for capital to fuel my dream.

It was during this time that I made a decision to let my medical society memberships lapse.  I had never considered it before, really, and as far as I was concerned, being a part of medical societies was simply part of being a physician-- I paid my dues and they supplied my, er, membership.

When I was in academics, my department paid my society dues as part of my contract.  I never thought about the cost since I didn't view the funds as coming from me (there seems to be a moral here somewhere...), but when I entered the world of community, or non-academic, medicine, suddenly the costs associated with these memberships became very real.

Five hundred dollars for this membership.  Three hundred a year for that one. It quickly added up, but I got a special tuition discount if I attended the annual meeting and I even got an occasional journal delivered to my mailbox with my name stamped on the front.  It all seemed very official and made me sort of feel like part of a special group, so I dutifully paid the dues and congratulated myself on my support of the furthering of the intellectual aims of XX society.  

However, as anyone who's ever been in business can tell you, at some point tough decisions have to be made, and for me, the relinquishing of my membership in these societies was one of those tough ones.  I believed in these organizations.  I liked being associated with them.  I enjoyed seeing my name stamped on the front of the journals and I even flipped through an article or two when I could.  Walking away from something that made me feel so "involved" made me feel isolated, vulnerable.  If being a member of these organizations made me feel included, leaving them made me feel...alone.

That was almost three years ago.

Since then, the various ventures with which I'm involved have finally started to right themselves and for the first time in quite a while I have begun to have the ability to get involved once again in medical societies.  In the past few months I've begun to ponder joining this society or that one, trying to figure out which one would be a better fit and from whose membership I would learn the most skills-- and meet the most talented leaders.

After marching down this path for a little bit, I finally stopped and asked myself a very simple question: why?

Why was I considering membership in a medical society?

It's true that when you begin a company your mind becomes much more keenly aware of the theoretical "return on investment" (ROI) than before.  I began asking myself the typical ROI questions I had asked myself at the beginning of any of my entrepreneurial ventures:  What would I gain from the investment of time and money in this organization?  Would my funds be better directed elsewhere?  Could I gain the same benefits without investing the relatively high annual dues?  How would I verify that my funds would be used appropriately and at what point would I be able to have an impact in the overall mission of this organization?

My honest assessment after a sit down talk with myself and a review of the available information before me was the following: For the most part, medical societies do not offer a significant enough ROI to warrant the investment required to participate.

I know this sounds like heresy for some, but let's review the facts...

From what I can tell, the reasons given for a physician to be a member of any medical society today basically revolve around three points.  

First, societies are said to offer camaraderie and networking opportunities for their members.  Second, societies supposedly help promote medical education and proper practice standards among their participants.  Third, medical societies, through the old "strength in numbers" adage, are in theory better able to represent their members politically and promote and pass legislation that furthers good medical practice.

Let's review these arguments in broad daylight and see if they hold water.

A generation ago, being a member of a medical society was really the only way a physician could connect with other physicians outside their basic social circle.  You joined the medical society of X in order to associate with its members, get invited to its galas, hear the latest research, and hopefully move up the ladder of influence of said organization as you progressed in notoriety and seniority.  This model was the same model used in the business world with the Elks Club, Rotary International, and the corporate culture at large.  Young, idealistic individuals, regardless of their skill set or motivation, waited in line patiently for their name to be called and an opportunity given to begin climbing the rungs of leadership within an organization, whether this organization was the Elks, IBM, or the X Medical Association.  One didn't even consider leaving if you had any career ambitions or longing for social connectedness.  The arrangement was what it was, and you just had to adjust.  

This model worked for quite a while since it was easy for senior members to control the benefits of membership, and parcel these benefits out only to those junior members who walked the line. 

In the corporate world, the personal computer revolution and especially the internet explosion, completely imploded this hierarchal regime.  No longer could senior corporate members exclusively hold the benefits of membership.  Enterprising upstarts could easily, from the comfort of home, begin a company on the web and not only leapfrog their old positions, in some cases they leapfrogged their entire industries.  The recent movie The Social Network , while criticized for not being 100% accurate, at least tells the gist of the story-- that a couple of Harvard undergrads turned the world on its ear from their dorm room.  

The internet has become the great world flattener, and while Richard Florida is correct that innovation still occurs in geographic regions, the ability to take your idea to the world in an instant is a tremendous power that prior generations did not have.  Furthermore, with the internet and more specifically, the social networking ability on the internet, junior members in every organization can instantly, and freely, associate themselves with whomever they choose all around the world.  Gone are the days when being on the outs with your local or even national medical society is a professional death sentence.  Individuals now have the ability to join any number of interesting networking groups, or even start their own.

Along this same line of thinking, the days when medical societies controlled medical education are long gone.  With the click of a keyboard, I can find medical education on almost any topic and I can access it at any time. I don't have to wait for my professional journal to arrive, and anything cutting edge will be posted on the web long before it hits my mailbox anyway. 

When I pay my fees to earn CME credits, I now have the opportunity to choose what topics I hear, and whom I hear teach them.  No more sitting in a conference lecture listening to the droning of Dr. Oldenkrinkle simply because he's the chair of the education committee. I can learn from the best teachers at any time in the comfort of my home and earn my CME credits on my own terms.

So with regards to the power of networking and the educational opportunities available, I would have to say that there are as many, or more, opportunities outside of medical societies today as there are within.  And when you consider that most of the membership societies available to the modern physician are free, why would you pay $300-$500 to be a member of a medical society for the networking or educational reasons?  It just doesn't make sense.

The last reason-- pooling our strength to become a stronger political lobbying force for X issues or specialty-- is the one most often cited in the recent past by modern physicians as a reason to be involved in a medical society.  Matter of fact, this one reason was a big one for me.  I mean, any objective person can see that physicians need a strong lobbying voice in Washington, if for no other reason than simply to attempt to counterbalance the influences of the trial lawyers and their ilk.  

However, I describe this as being cited in the "recent past" because I haven't heard it from any physician recently.

No, if there was one glorious revelation that came into full view during the healthcare debate in this country, it was the cowardice of the self-serving leadership at the helms of most medical societies in this country.

I don't think any physician will be fooled in the future with the "give us your money and we'll stand up for you" line that motivated us in the past.  What the healthcare debate clearly revealed was that when medical societies say they work for their constituents, they do truly mean this.  It's just that their constituents aren't the dues-paying members that constitute their ranks-- they're the entrenched bureaucrats in their leadership.

Physicians watched in horror as medical society after medical society lined up and endorsed Obamacare, and then spoke to America as if their members were in agreement.  The American Medical Association was the worst offender, selling its soul to keep intact its lucrative, exclusive right to the CPT billing codes that fund its bureaucracy.  It was appalling in its transparency, and no physician who saw it will ever forget it.

So what to do as a modern physician?

The point here isn't to argue that no medical society is worth joining.  Many societies do good work in certain areas and there are physicians who derive a great deal of pleasure from membership in a society or two of interest.

My point in this post is that being a member of a medical society is simply not the knee-jerk necessity it was a few years ago, and there's no credible reason to join any society unless you really feel that their mission meshes with yours and you want to be involved.

More importantly, I believe that medical societies need to begin asking themselves what real value they give their members.  Today's young physician will not be coerced in the traditional way into membership, and if value isn't apparent, many will simply walk away.

So will I eventually join a medical society?  

I don't know.

Maybe.  

I'll need to discuss it with my friends on Facebook and get back to you.

Reader Comments (21)

The AMA should be ashamed of itself for that fiasco. I haven't yet given up my memberships but I applaud you for doing so. I think you're right; the old world mentality of the kind of hierarchy that societies espouse and enforce fair poorly in the internet age. Kudos on this post and this site as a whole.

Dec 14 | Unregistered CommenterDesmond

Right on Greg!
I especially appreciated your observations with medical societies and the obsession of their leadership with self serving lobbying. This not only is detrimental to optimal patient outcomes, but is poisonous to the required healthcare integration mandated by our current economic and political realities.
Leadership is the art of influencing others to make difficult decisions that require them to focus beyond themselves for the greater good.
We all suffer from the paucity of real physician leadership today.

What would Google do it were a medical society? "What would Google Do", Jeff Jarvis, 2009

1. Don't charge membership dues
2. Eliminate committees that include everyone and do nothing but use resources
3. Create collaborative online innovation networks
4. Listen to your worst customers
5. Make your best customers your friend
6. Take advantage of the long tail
7. Figure out a different business model other than one that depends on annual meeting registrations and dues.

For a glimpse of what I mean, check The Society of Physcian Entrepreneurs at http://www.sopenet.org

Res Ipsa Loquitur-the declining membership in medical societies, academies, colleges, associations speak for themselves. My own experience has been positive of late. Like so many activities in life, putting forth time, effort, energy with focus in a medical professional society can be valuable/ rewarding. My suggestion is determine if your "designated" society or state medical association is a fit for you before dismissing out of hand. The options to have an impact in professional education, patient education, public policy, regulation, co-existence with third party payers, research, mentoring younger colleagues or being mentored by more experienced/ seasoned/ successful peers are available.
Many medical societies are struggling to maintain membership, relevance, and provide an ROI for members. It is up to us in the medical profession as to how we maintain and foster the tenants of our profession. Medical societies can be one of those avenues.

The year’s most bogus claim regarding the AMA’s support of health system reform involved conspiracy theories surrounding CPT. The linkage between CPT and health reform is a complete fabrication, and at no time during any AMA discussions with the White House or with the Congress was CPT ever discussed.

The AMA’s support for the health reform law was based on it meeting a majority of strong principles, particularly expanding coverage to millions more Americans, that reflected policies established by medicine’s broadest forum of physicians with representatives from every state and specialty. The AMA has made expanding health coverage to all Americans a top priority and we made clear that this law, while historic, was a starting point and that Congress would still need to act on vital issues important to patients and physicians.

Day in and day out, AMA is working hard to provide physicians with the advocacy and practical tools they need to care for patients and lead enhancements to our health system. In the past year alone, AMA has spurred improvements in the insurance industry’s chaotic payment system by exposing flaws and waste, helped members recoup millions in short-changed insurance payments, given members powerful tool for practice management and negotiating insurer contracts, held insurance companies accountable for questionable business practices, led the charge to exempt physicians from the red flags rule, and successfully held back the largest physician payment cut in Medicare’s history.

As the nation’s largest physician organization, the AMA welcomes the diversity of physician opinions, but falsehoods and conspiracy theories do nothing to advance the common goals physicians share.

Greg's article is a direct hit on accuracy and truth. I have been in private primary care for twenty-five years. I had to join the societies to keep my board certification. I am not sure what my board certification has done to help me either but that is another topic. Societies have very little reason for existence for the solo private physician who has a tough battle against HMO and large medical groups. The AMA has abandoned its base. I used to belong to the AMA before they abandoned the private physician in favor of big government and big insurance companies.

The AMA's position on the so-called health care reforms is out of step with what the majority of physicians want. That is the great lie that they continue to perpetuate - that they represent physicians. The level of arrogance is astounding - that they (AMA leadership) supported the law for their own list of reasons instead of supporting or not supporting the law in accordance with the wishes of their membership. There is a reason why less than 20% of practicing physicians belong to the AMA, a reason that seems to be completely beyond the grasp of the AMA's supporters.

Thanks to everyone who has commented on this article and "liked" it on Facebook. I've found the comments to be very interesting and with 36 "likes" already on Facebook, the article appears to have struck a nerve with our readers.

While all the comments have been excellent, I would like to specifically address the comments posted by the "American Medical Association."

First, to the poster who wrote on behalf of the American Medical Association, while we appreciate your comment, I would like to suggest that you identify yourself to the Freelance MD community. I am assuming that "medicine's broadest forum of physicians with representatives from every state and specialty" did not as a whole author the comment here on Freelance MD. Could you identify yourself to our group? Are you a clinical physician who is a member of the AMA, a physician rep for the AMA who does not practice, or are you a non-physician employed by the AMA? Regardless, you are free to comment on any post here at Freelance MD, but it does help us to define your comments a little more when we know who you are. When I write articles or comments here, I sign my name to them, I don't anonymously write them as "Freelance MD." This gives perspective to our readers since they can read my bio here on the site and make their own decisions about my background and potential biases. Please let us know who you are.

Second, regarding the CPT codes, based on your comments it appears you have some personal experience with the meetings that took place. You say with some authority that "at no time during any AMA discussions with the White House or with the Congress was CPT ever discussed." Were you involved in these meetings? Were you present when Dr. Rohack and others from the AMA met with Senator Reid and members of the White House regarding the healthcare reform bill, or are you simply parroting the AMA's party line that CPT was never discussed?

Third, are you willing to comment about the relative income the AMA receives from the CPT codes and the federal government as a whole compared to the income the AMA receives from its dues-paying physician members?

Fourth, would you be willing to go on record and discuss the percentage drop in physician membership that resulted from endorsing the healthcare reform bill passed by the Congress?

Fifth, if the vast majority of the AMA's income is from the federal government, and the physician membership of the AMA is at an all-time low (and dropping), why would the AMA not side with the federal government against its physician members? It appears the AMA has two core constituencies, one of which (the federal government) pays them huge sums of money and has the ability to upend their financial monopoly with the stroke of a pen. What would you think about a politician who accepts huge sums of money from a donor and then says his vote was not influenced by these contributions? Do you really think the AMA is untainted by these financial interests?

I have more questions, but I will end with one more: based on the fact that the AMA completely misrepresented its physician base, endorsed a plan for government takeover of healthcare, ignored the need for malpractice reform, and still will not come clean about its duplicitous financial interests, why should I as a physician join the AMA?

The federal government has never paid so much as one taxpayer dime to the AMA for the use of CPT in the Medicare and Medicaid programs. Yet, the AMA alone paid for the 45-year development of CPT, and it invests millions of dollars annually to ensure CPT accurately reflects contemporary patient care. Taxpayers receive excellent value from CPT since the annual process of maintaining the code set is done without cost to the U.S. government.

I think you're missing the point. The federal government allows the AMA to maintain a monopoly on the CPT codes which reaps your organization tens of millions in profits annually. This monopoly drives up costs to physicians and patients (ie- taxpayers) through administrative overhead and places your organization in the interesting position of being the beneficiary of a federal cabal that profits from the headaches of those you supposedly represent.

I would actually feel better about the situation if you just came clean about it. The AMA should just be forthright and say,"Look, we're here to make money through the use of the CPT codes. It's our right as provided by the federal government and we're doing nothing illegal. We used to represent physicians but that wasn't nearly as much fun as what we're doing now. However, we still call ourselves the AMA because it sounds good and we do still have a few physicians employed here."

If you just came clean most people wouldn't be that upset. It's when you call yourselves the AMA and say you represent doctors, then pull these shenanigans that people get angry.

Here's the deal: you won't answer my questions about your physician membership because your physician members are leaving you in droves. You don't represent doctors, you represent your own bureaucracy. You pander to the Feds because they protect your lucrative racket, and you're upset because the healthcare reform debate exposed your true allegiances.

I can understand why you're frustrated. I'm just curious why you're not ashamed.

I can give you a reason to join the AMA. The medical profession’s opponents in Washington are many. Each of them are unified, organized, determined - and they are all laughing at you.

Rants against the AMA are the product of years of successful planning by political operatives with the intension of sowing division in the physician ranks and making your well-respected profession useless as a political force. My former colleagues would often gloat about the physician preoccupation with factionalism and how easy it is to open schisms within the medical profession. By planting a few well-honed deceptions, the entire physician community can be reduced to a bickering mass that neutralizes the relevance of any unified voice that attempts to rise above the din of physician self-interest.

Both political parties push physician hot buttons to manipulate the medical profession’s support for partisan positions. This is considered a form of reverse lobbying. But sowing division and deception among physicians is most often used by Republicans as a form of political retribution.

The RNC has favored CPT as their “go-to” hot button since Sen. Lott first used the issue as political payback for the beating the AMA gave insurers and their Republican-supporters in the Senate on the patients’ bill of rights. By distorting the AMA’s own revenue figures and alluding to quid pro quo deals, the divisive nature of this manufactured claim has exceeded RNC expectations. Look for more political theater regarding CPT in the House during 2011.

Partisan attacks claiming the AMA does not represent all physicians will continue because the pragmatists among political operatives know that the AMA’s position at the center of American medicine is not only a result of its size and prominence, but also its pluralism. The task of bringing together physician representatives from every state and every specialty and creating a majority consensus rests solely on the AMA and no other medical organization. This representational-style governing system makes the AMA, without question, the umbrella organization of American medicine. Carrying this responsibility in Washington will always make the AMA a target for the medical profession’s opponents.

Encouraging physicians to take highly divergent positions on health reform has kept the AMA on the defensive. As a result, the AMA was never given credit for what it kept out of health reform proposals:

No public option tied to Medicare payment rates.
No physician enrollment fees for Medicare and Medicaid.
No mandatory physician participation.
No payment penalties for outlier physicians.
No coverage determinations using comparative effectiveness research.
No taxes on medical services.
No budget neutrality adjustment for primary care.

These items were on the table at one time or another during the health reform debate and defeated by the AMA. But the AMA’s actions went unnoticed by physicians. AMA successes were buried by whipping physicians into a frenzy with planned attacks focusing on the AMA’s failure to get malpractice reform. The misdirection worked to our amazement. Physicians didn’t seem to have a single clue that tort reform is a lead balloon while Democrats are in power. If tort reform couldn’t be passed while a doctor led the Senate and Republicans controlled Congress and the White House, the AMA didn’t stand a chance of delivering tort reform while Democrats were in control of Washington. Despite the challenge, the AMA got more on tort reform from Democrats during the health reform debate than it ever got from Republicans.

As the new Congress begins its work and I leave the halls of government for new opportunities, I want to thank the physicians who have added to my professional success by resigning themselves from “organized medicine” and spreading dissention among their peers by deriding the AMA. So long and keep on truckin’!

Can't speak to the value of AMA membership, never been there. As to the value of membership in the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA), I have a few thoughts.

Since March 2009, I have been publicly vocal about exposing the hypocrisy of the ASA' so--called 'patient safety' advocacy. (see 'Press releases' page @ www.drfriedberg.com). If they would only say they were patient safety advocates as long as the advocacy does not disturb the flow of millions of dollars from America's drug makers, I could accept their position.

If the ASA is truly a patient safety advocate, why then did it take 6 years (1984-1990) for them to declare pulse oximetry a standard of care? No answer yet?

There is an epidemic of anesthesia over medication with the consequences of delirium, dementia & death. Why, after 14 years of FDA approval and more than 3500 published scientific studies, does the ASA not declare measuring the target organ (the brain) a standard of care?

Follow the trail of money... widespread brain monitoring would result in a nearly 30% drop in drug sales... who give millions of dollars of various support to the ASA? Right again! The drug companies.

The fox is again guarding the hen house.

'Caveat emptor.'

This is a great string and I echo the sentiments directed toward AMA. However, I would characterize AMA as a political action committe and less as a true medical society. AMA is a physician Lobby. They do little to support individual docs or practices. And maybe it is that syntax that causes such a visceral reaction to AMA. Let's call it like it is.
Now, my professional society, SHM-Society of Hospital Medicine, truly delivers on the value proposition. Advocates for their docs, provides real resources, and collaborates to enhance the physician - patient experience.
Check it out...www.hospitalmedicine.org

Apparently it is becoming irrelevant and needs rescue measures to stay relevant.
An association/society is a clustering of compatible mind set of individuals to achieve common goals, safeguard common interest and domain of influence. It may be an evolutionary refined tribal trait that has multiple contemporary variant like gangs, outfits and syndicates also at one extreme of spectrum. Many associations are lately unintentionally becoming copy cat of these variants probably. It will be a setback if associations die out and it will be a bigger setback to medical profession if they exist in present form. I believe medical associations have been a major policy modifier and game changer in politics and health policy of a nation and world earlier. That role remains reserved if it introspects, rejuvenates with truth, discipline and more and more research.

Note:
I am not associated with AMA hence it is unpractical to comment on it’s present working.
Let me clarify further in India medical council is a statuary regulatory body for medical practice where registration is mandatory for medical practice and my comments are confined to associations and societies.

Medical societies provide education, services, advocacy and networking. The problem is that substitutes, mostly on the Internet, has provided a more efficient and cheaper subsitute, and advocacy has been ineffective to justify the fee.
Society should innovate and create a new business model, or they with be remnants of a nostalgic past.

Having spent my 3 years in CMA (California Medical Society) and the AMA i personally plan to stay involved and support both organizations. Each is very different.

The CMA is a state organization run by the state Doc's. It provides many group purchasing deals and legal council. They have a department set up to help doctors with legal advice and aid in billing. I plan to start my own practice when i finish and the level of support they offer sounds well worth it to me.

The AMA does nothing for me and most of you. The sad fact is that us doctors have no voice. So we yell, complaint, rant on websites and every once and a while take our frustration out on our colleagues, families, and employers. The AMA could do a lot for influencing federal legislation if it had unified support but it does not. Many people ask the AMA to do something for them before they join. Political influence and lobbying does not work that way. It only works when we stand strong together and then lobby not the other way around. Hands down no other medical organization representing doctors has even come close to this much lobbying influence, despite our sad level of support. Lets face it keeping doctors involved in politics is like herding cats. Until there is a better option i will use what i have.

The neat thing about organizations structured like the CMA and AMA is they have house of delegates meetings were anyone with any idea can assert there desires and attempt to persuade other to support there ideas. If more frustrated doctors used the organizations the image of AMA would begin to reflect there ideas, if they are sound and in agreement with the majority.

It saddens me that Physicians use to be very politically influential and savvy, but today the majority of the profession has a clock in clock out workers mentality. We use to have just as much influence as the lawyers in this country, yet now we are reduced to asking for there permission to not loose 27% of our income.

Oh well at least it is legal for us to unionize and go on strike..............

My husband and I opened a practice together 5 years ago and converted it to a concierge practice this past fall. Every financial investment we make, including joining or rejoining the many societies that solicit us on a daily basis is based on ROI as well as how well the society supports our viewpoint. We left the AOA, AMA and AAFP the year we opened our doors. I could not justify supporting societies, who in our opinion, did not support us and offered little to no ROI. Perhaps in the good old days these societies were worth the investment, but in this day and age of poor reiumbursement and the lack of physician respect and support, I can not justify it.

No knowledge should be owned by anybody. I have always wondered how authors meekly submit to the publishers - they have to seek permission to quote their previous works! The publisher in any form should be entitled only to costs & a reasonable, say 10-20' p.c. margin for service - once paid,ownership passes to the purchaser. With suitable laws, electronic information can be free and free the environment from paper consumptionn and eco-destruction.

The question of whether societies are irrelevant is faced by each society every year as membership ages and younger members are not recruited for a variety of reason. As mentioned in one of the posts, ROI cannot be measured with respect to your dues.ROI of a website of advertising is often sometime difficult to tease out. My personal engagement in one of the Societies I belong to is particularly valuable. I just returned from Capitol Hill this past week. To be brief the 1998 Women Health Rights Act ensures women who have a mastectomy are able to have breast reconstruction and other procedures to provide symmetry. This was passed so that private ensures wold not turned down these claims. This federal law has nothing to do with Medicaid and Medicare. I will say that both Medicaid and Medicare follow suit with the Federal Law as well. Sorry for the digression. Unfortunately despite this federal law approximately 70% of the women undergoing mastectomy are explained their options regarding breast reconstruction. The Breast Reconstruction Patient Education Act was crafted by members and staff of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons to help educate patients about their options. This is an educational instrument that would be published by the HHS probably with the help of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and other affiliated groups. I was part of the physician group from Texas and Ohio that flew to Capitol Hill this past week to garner support for this legislation. The Bill had a Republican sponsor in the Senate and we were looking for a Democratic Sponsor. We had several positive meetings and it looks likes we have found a sponsor. I then spent many hours trying to get back home that night due to airport glitches. Now I would say that you certainly can contact your representatives and meet with their staff on Capitol Hill. Depending on your contribution you may even meet your Member of Congress. To craft a Bill is entirely different. I pay multiple society dues and I am in private practice. Some societies have very different educational value for me. Others I serve in the leadership of and contribute to the educational programs at annual meetings.I would say that my trip to capitol hill is funded by me personally. My contributions to the PAC of that Society is obviously funded by me personally. I think as physicians we have spent may years being educated and trained. Personally I spent 9 years after I finished medical school training in surgery, plastic surgery and microsurgery. It is staggering how little of the political process is understood by physicians. In any event if you don't belong to the Society of your training maybe just give to their PAC. I am sure they would still be happy to get your contribution. If we all were aligned the we would have a super PAC but this will not happen in medicine sadly. Also the average political contribution to a PAC in a society I know well is between 50 to 70 dollars if you average it out among members. It you look at the American Trial Lawyers Association the estimated average contribution of a partner in a firm at a minimum is 10K per years. If you follow the money you will understand why things move forward and other things seem to be in Brownian motion.

Great Article. After 10 years of paid dues, I gave up my membership last year realizing that nothing came of my investment to my society. No changes in primary care reimbursments until only recently, but was my society responsible for this change...not.

Jan 4 | Unregistered Commentertom
I agree that current medical societies need to change. Before, we just couldn't get information, but now when we have internet, it's totally different. But still, medical societies bring that extra to the community. Building better relationships between us, the doctors and patients. Promote prevention and educate people. Internet contains a lot of medical information. Most of it is misleading, had incorrect data and event sponsored by industry. People need a verified source of information. Can this be a next thing for medical societies?

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